Makes 18 Rumaki
Adapted from recipe by Chef Joel Chenet, Mill Bay Coffee & Pastries, Kodiak, AK
With Salmon Rumaki, Chef Chenet gives a modern Alaskan twist to an old-fashioned appetizer. Fresh Alaska salmon, seasoned with Cajun spices and smoked salmon breadcrumbs, are wrapped in Smoked Salmon Vodka-marinated bacon, and quickly baked. When you bite into a Rumaki, the flavors of salmon, bacon, and vodka meld together in a single delicious bite; water chestnuts contribute a pleasing crunch. Citrus or plain vodka may be used, but the cumulative effect of salmon with smoked salmon breadcrumbs with smoked salmon vodka is particularly satisfying. Any brand of Cajun spices works in this recipe, but try to use one in which salt isn’t the first ingredient listed; if it is, be careful not to over-salt. Smoked salmon for breadcrumbs is easy to mince in a food processor. Although designed as an appetizer, 3 Rumaki with a green salad, crusty bread, and olives, make a filling meal.
18 pieces regular sliced bacon (not thick cut)
1 cup smoked salmon vodka, plus 2 Tbsp., divided
1 1/2 lbs. skinless salmon fillet
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. Cajun spices
3/4 cup Panko (or any coarse dried white bread crumbs)
1/2 cup minced hot-smoked salmon (2 ounces, about 3 salmon strips)
8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts
Prepare Bacon: Preheat oven to 300°F. Stretch bacon slices out on baking sheets with sides. Bake 12 minutes. Remove bacon to paper towels; pat dry to remove excess fat. In bowl or zip lock bag, mix bacon and 1 cup smoked salmon vodka. Marinate bacon in vodka for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Prepare Salmon: Wash salmon and dry it well. Using needle-nosed pliers, remove pin-bones from salmon. Cut salmon into 18 equal pieces (about 1 1/2-2” cubes). Season salmon cubes with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Cajun spices.
Prepare Breadcrumbs: Mix breadcrumbs and minced smoked salmon together.
Assemble and Bake: Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove bacon from vodka marinade, let drain, and pat dry.
Lay out bacon slices on work surface. Sprinkle wide end of each bacon slice with layer of salmon breadcrumbs, top with slice of water chestnut, top with seasoned salmon cube. Roll salmon up in bacon. Place salmon rolls on baking sheet with sides.
Bake 5 minutes. Using remaining 2 Tbsp. smoked salmon vodka, brush top of each salmon roll with vodka. Serve hot.